Officer down: One deputy killed, second seriously injured while working safety checkpoint

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MONROE COUNTY MS- Monroe County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies were in northeast Mississippi conducting a safety checkpoint on Saturday night when a vehicle struck two of them, Deputies Dylan Pickle and Zach Wilbanks. 

Both were rushed to the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo hospital where, unfortunately, Pickle succumbed to his injuries. 

Wilbanks has undergone surgery for a leg injury and has head trauma from the crash. 

As tragic as this incident is, all appearances seem to point to the driver stopping after the crash and it not being an intentional act.  There is also no mention of the driver’s arrest found.

Officer down: One deputy killed, second seriously injured while working safety checkpoint

Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook advised that Pickle died hours after the crash occurred and believes the incident was just a tragic accident. 

“There were four deputies at a checkpoint on Hamilton Rd near Seely Dr, and two were struck by a vehicle. 

As far as the accident itself, the highway patrol is conducting the investigation, and it’s still under investigation, but it appears to be an accident,” he told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.  Police received the call of the deputies being struck at 9:44pm. 

Wilbanks was a new deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, having been hired sometime after January of this year. 

However, he did have previous experience with the Aberdeen and Armory Police Departments. 

Sheriff Crook advised that Pickle “worked in the jail and sent himself to the academy at Moorhead about the time I was taking over [January of 2020].  He came back from the academy, and we had just recently given him his shot and made him a patrol deputy.  He was doing an awesome job.  He won everybody over with his work ethic and attitude.” 

Pickle also was enlisted in the Mississippi National Guard.

Crook continued:

“Both of them are great young deputies.  Dylan had a bright future in front of him in law enforcement, and Zack still does.  I think he’ll bounce back from this because he’s that kind of guy – resilient.  It’s like what was said many times, [Pickle] did what he had his heart set on doing.” 

As happens in these tragic situation, multiple agencies responded to assist in any way that the could.  The Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Aberdeen Police Department and MedState responded to assist. 

Officers from the Aberdeen Police Department blocked the roads so that the ambulances could respond to the hospital quickly.  Crook said:

“I want to thank everybody.  Everybody tried and did everything they could – Hamilton Fire Department and MedState, even at North Mississippi Medical Center.  They did everything they could, and we know it and appreciate it.” 

Social media was streaming with multiple prayer requests and condolences given to the agency and Pickle’s family.  Multiple others hoped and prayed for Wilbanks speedy and full recovery. 

Mississippi Highway Patrol Colonel Randy Ginn offered this on twitter:

“It is with saddened hearts that we mourn the loss of Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Dylan Pickle.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department during this difficult time.” 

Northern District Public Safety Commissioner Brandon Presley also voiced his condolences on Facebook.  Presley says in a post:

“The Monroe Co. Sheriff’s Dept. and this officer’s family need your prayers this morning.  The loss of this Deputy Sheriff’s life is an absolute tragedy for the people of Monroe County. 

Two deputies were struck by a vehicle at a checkpoint in Hamilton.  Please continue in prayer for the other Deputy who is hospitalized with serious injuries.”    

Although we do not know yet what caused the crash, we can at least take some comfort in knowing that it was not an attack on law enforcement. 

We also know that the community has given a large outpouring of support for both of the deputies and the law enforcement agencies in that area, something that may not be seen in New York or Portland.  

Officer Down: Deputy killed by driver while he was trying to assist people involved in a car accident

Carnesville, Georgia – Preliminary reports have come in regarding a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy that was killed by another motorist while trying to assist occupants inside of a vehicle after responding to a crash.

Law enforcement officials in Georgia have identified the deputy killed on July 19th as Franklin County Deputy William Garner. Deputy Garner was helping people inside of a car after responding to a crash on Interstate 85 at roughly 7:00 p.m. when he was fatally struck by another vehicle.

Authorities say that the driver said to have hit Deputy Garner was 21-year-old Abdulhafiz Tawfik Abdullahi. According to early reports of the incident, Abdullahi had allegedly lost control of his vehicle when he struck the deputy that evening.

Deputy Garner had been with the FCSO for slightly over a year at the time of his death. Police have charged Abdullahi with first-degree homicide by vehicle. Officials have not released further details at this time regarding the incident.

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LET Unity

We recently lost another officer over in Bothell, Washington. Here’s the background on that case as well as the recent developments. 

On July 17th, detectives from the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team (SMART), released a report detailing how they believe the bullet that killed Bothell Police Officer, Jonathan Shoop, came from his partner’s firearm during a crossfire with an armed suspect.

According to Komo News, Officer Shoop, 32, died on scene Monday during a routine traffic stop gone terribly wrong. Officer Mustafa Kumcur, who was also involved in the incident was hurt following a gun battle and brief pursuit with the suspect. The suspect has since been identified as Henry Eugene Washington.

That same day, the King County Prosecutor’s Office filled three felony charges against Washington. He has been charged with aggravated murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, and vehicular assault. The charging documents state:

“The fact that Mr. Washington did not fire the fatal shot is immaterial to his culpability in this crime. But for Mr. Washington’s directed attack on the officers, Officer Shoop would be alive today.”

According to the report from SMART, the original incident happened as follows:

Two Bothell Police Officers initiated a traffic stop on a black Pontiac G6 on SR522 just before 10 p.m. on July 13th. The driver initially stopped when approached by the responding officers, but then sped away, striking a pedestrian riding a scooter on a crosswalk. After he hit the pedestrian on the scooter, he crashed.

Detectives said that the suspect got out of the vehicle and approached the driver’s side of the officer’s car. They believe the suspect then fired two rounds of bullets into the patrol car. Detectives believe this because one bullet broke the driver’s side window and the other hit Officer Kumcur’s firearm, ricocheted, and struck him in the head.

Detectives say they believe what happened next was that the officer fired multiple shots, one of which struck and killed Officer Shoop in the crossfire. After the shooting ended, detectives say the patrol car drove forward, striking the suspect’s vehicle, which caused it to roll several hundred yards before coming to a stop against a tree.

The suspect was found hours later on a nearby roof. He turned himself in by calling police in Junction City, Kansas, where he had lived in the past, identifying himself by name, and admitting to killing a police officers in Washington.

Police arrested him after 3 a.m. on July 14th, when he fell between two walls and got trapped. Officers reported recovering a handgun from his pants along with a Crown Royal bag holding 9 mm bullets.

On July 17th, Bothell City Manager, Jennifer Phillips released a statement saying:

“Based on the investigation updates, it appears there was a tragic crossfire situation that resulted in the death of one of our officers. Let us be clear, we believe the actions of the suspect led to this tragic event.”

In a statement to KOMO News, Washington’s mother, Carol Washington, said her son, who was on a brief visit to the Seattle area:

“was not in his right mind.”

She said:

“For them to lose their family, their brother, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. They have my deepest sympathies. “

According to Washington’s mother, he lives with her in Central Texas and works in the construction industry.

She said:

“We know my son didn’t intentionally do that. We know if he had been in his right mind, he never would have done nothing like that.”

According to the Bellevue Reporter, a witness reported Washington shouted at least twice, “Come on, pig,” before firing two shots. For decades, aggravated murder carried only two possible sentences in the state of Washington: life in prison or the death penalty. The state Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in 2018, which means if Washington is convicted, life in prison is the only sentencing option.

Officer Shoop, served in the U.S. Coast Guard and joined the Bothell police department in June 2019. In a statement, Captain Mike Johnson said:

“He was someone who treated people the way you would want to be treated by the police.”

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